Daniel MurphyIt’s been a streaky year at the plate for Daniel Murphy and right now the Mets’ second baseman is in the midst of a hot streak. He’s currently riding a nine-game hitting streak and has put up a .459/.462/.676 line in his last 39 PA. However, the hot streak illustrates one of the frustrating things with Murphy and that’s been the disappearance of his walk rate.

Throughout the minors, Murphy regularly posted a double-digit BB%. In his first taste in the majors, Murphy recorded an 11.9 BB% in 151 PA. But since that time, his best has been the 6.8 mark he notched in 2009. This year his BB% checks in at just 4.2% – which ranks 138th out of 147 qualified hitters.

The approach that the Mets favor with their hitters is to wait for a pitch they can drive. If that pitch doesn’t come, be happy to take a base on balls. Yet Murphy is stuck in the middle. Rather than taking pitches waiting for one to drive, he is frequently flicking the ball with no power to the opposite field. It’s helped him to the fourth-most hits (161) in the National League but his OPS is just .722 and his wOBA is .315, the 48th-best mark in the NL.

Murphy either needs to be more selective at the pitches he swings at or else he’s going to have to pull the ball more often. When he does hit the ball to right field, he hits the ball with so much more authority. When Murphy pulls the ball to RF, he has a .274 ISO. When he hits the ball to LF, his ISO drops to .123, a 151-point loss.

It’s easier said then done to completely change your approach to hitting but it would be nice if the Mets dropped Murphy to a lower spot in the order and told him they wanted him to be more of an RBI guy. Perhaps this would be the incentive he needed to pull more balls. So far in 2013, Murphy has more hits to the opposite field (43) than he does pulling the ball (32).

In 2011, Murphy had an .809 OPS as he had 45 hits that were pulled compared to 20 that were hit the other way. It would be nice to see him go back to a greater than 2-to-1 ratio of pulled hits in the final month and for the rest of his career. And maybe his walk rate would increase, too.

DILLON KEEPS ON ROCKIN’ – The Mets salvaged the last game of the year against the Braves thanks to another strong pitching performance by Dillon Gee. He allowed just 1 ER in 7 IP and lowered his ERA to a season-best 3.53 mark. Since May 30th, Gee is 9-3 with a 2.40 ERA in 123.2 IP.

That’s leaving off his first 10 starts of the year, as he struggled to return to form after last year’s season-ending injury. If we substitute his last 10 starts of 2012 for his first 10 starts this year, we come up with the following line:

13-7, 2.65 ERA, 190.1 IP, 165 H, 46 BB, 147 Ks, 20 HR

Those are pretty amazing results for a guy who might be the team’s fifth starter if other heralded prospects reach their ceilings.

THE AMAZING ANDREW – Perhaps no one was sadder to see the calendar turn to September than Andrew Brown. In the month of August, Brown put up a .357/.386/.571 line in 44 PA. The only regret is that the manager did not write his name into the lineup more often during his hot streak. For the season, Brown has a .776 OPS in 124 PA with a .296 BABIP. He seems to have staked a claim on a spot on the 2014 team. The only question is how big his role will be next season.

A TALE OF TWO PITCHERS – Let’s compare two guys who have thrown a similar number of innings for the Mets in 2013:

Player A – 78.1 IP, 1.35 WHIP, 3.63 FIP, 4.23 xFIP
Player B – 83.0 IP, 1.30 WHIP, 4.09 FIP, 4.07 xFIP

Player A was released while Player B is being counted on to be a main cog in the rotation in 2014 and beyond. I give you Shaun Marcum and Zack Wheeler.

QUINTANILLA IN A RARE GROUP – After 324 PA, Omar Quintanilla has a higher OBP (.314) than SLG (.293). Among the 242 players in MLB to amass at least 300 PA, Quintanilla is one of only seven players to accomplish this rare feat. The group also includes Christ Stewart, Nick Punto, Skip Schumaker, Chris Iannetta, Placido Polanco and a player talked about a lot here recently – Elvis Andrus.

7 comments on “Daniel Murphy’s hot streak, Dillon Gee’s combined numbers, Quintanilla’s rare group

  • steevy

    Bottom line is that Murphy is a streaky player.He belongs more in the 6-7 spot in the order than near the top.But TC is an idiot so…

    • Mike Koehler

      Murph took walks and sported a high average when he was younger, which made sense to stick him at the top. If he can’t figure out how to lay off some off those balls as a table-setter, then an RBI-role at the bottom may force the issue home.

      Looking forward to seeing him back in 2014.

  • Name

    I’m not sure how I feel about Murphy this year. For 3 years now, his OPS has been declining, and it may be in his approach, as you suggested. When he is hot, he is pulling and hitting the ball with authority. When he is struggling, he trys to slap the ball the other way, like Ichiro. Somehow, someway, someone has to point this out to him and try to get him to rectify this mindset.

    Brown has got respectable numbers this year, especially his pinch hitting numbers. In 22 PA, .286/.318/.619 with .937 OPS. That leads to me to believe he will get a bench spot next year as the RH pinch hitter(good bye Justin Turner). Assuming Lagares/mDD are healthy and we sign one FA outfielder, i guess the final spot next year in the OF will come down to speed in Young or having a LH pinch hitter in Baxter.

    The main difference in Marcum and Wheeler can easily be explained by this:
    no runners on: .238/.291/.341 with .632 OPS
    runners on: .360/.403/.544 with .947 OPS
    no runners on: .254/.318/.430 with .748 OPS
    runners on: .214/.317/.291 with .607 OPS

    • Brian Joura

      Yep,not only are the raw hits allowed important, when they occur matters, too. Good (lucky) sequencing has worked in Wheeler’s favor this year.

    • NormE

      Let’s not forget the ages of the two respective pitchers. Marcum is at the end of his MLB career while Wheeler is a rookie who, hopefully, will get better. Marcum had no upside for a rebuilding team. So, this is a case where Brian’s stats are interesting but not really relevant.

      • Brian Joura

        I would suggest that the relevance comes in the fact that Wheeler is just a bit of bad luck away from posting an ERA around 5.00

        Wheeler and Marcum had similar overall rates as judged by their xFIP. Marcum had a BABIP over .400 with runners on base while Wheeler’s was below the NL average of .301 in this split.

        The point was not “let’s bring Marcum back!” Rather, it was – let’s not assume Wheeler has completely earned his 3.36 ERA.

  • […] as Brian Joura succinctly points out here, Murphy is simply not walking enough anymore and is not really taking selective swings at the […]

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